What I’m Reading Now: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Cover of the Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Set on the very edge of Patagonia, there is a girl school where there had previously been a tragedy. A mysterious illness once overtook the school. It is now reopening and in 1970s Argentina with a looming military dictatorship, Mavi can’t say no to a job that’ll take her out of Buenos Aires. I’m looking forward to this!

Kate’s favorite books of 2022

I did it! I read books in 2022! Not as many as I used to, but definitely more than any other year since COVID! I am so excited! I feel like I’m back! Kind of! So, without further ado, let’s get into it. In no particular order, here are my favorites of this past year!

  1. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

I really enjoyed this book. It has mobsters. It has monsters. It has people behaving exactly as we know people behave during a pandemic in a pandemic. It’s set in colonial Shanghai. It has a sequel. I hightly recommend it.

2. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

This romance by an author who has an excellent social media presence was so satisfying. I liked the characters. I liked their romance. I liked that they both had a story arc. It was great.

3. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

I like horror movies a lot. Like, a lot a lot. My Netflix recs are basically just baking shows, kdramas, and buckets of guts. So, this seemed right up my alley. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be, but it was so good. Based on the Okiku myth, the ghost of a girl who was murdered, and has stuck around to torment her killer… and then torment more killers. I was taken in by the story and I needed to know how it ended. I just found out it has a sequel, too!

4. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

I thought this was an interesting premise, so I downloaded it. In it, if you die by murder, you come back okay. Dispatchers are people who work in places like hospitals just in case things go wrong. The main character, Tony Valdez, is contacted by the police because a fellow dispatcher has gone missing. It gets sucked into a mystery about where his friend is and how he ended up there. There are two more books in the series. I binged them all back to back. They were entertaining.

5. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I started this ages ago (maybe in 2017? Like, ages ago) and then finished it this summer when I was visiting my sister. It was… I want to say beautiful? Laszlo Strange is an orphan librarian who talks himself into a position on a quest to help Weep, a place of legend, rid itself of the floating palace of slain gods. When they get to the city, he meets a woman in his dreams. The woman is a child of the slain gods and lives in the floating palace above the city. Every day they live their lives, and then at night, they meet in Laszlo’s dreams. It’s not as cheesy as I’m making it sound. There’s a little bit of mystery (Is Strange really an orphan? Where is he really from?) and a little bit of lore from the world. I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. It also has a sequel!

Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

What would you give up for immortality? Would you bargain your soul away for freedom? Addie LaRue is 23 years old in 1714 France. She’s about to be married off to a man she doesn’t love or have any interest in. She does not want to be a wife or a mother. She wants to live and see the world. She wants to love but not have attachments. In a moment of desperation, she bargains her soul away with a mysterious stranger to live a life away from the obligations of her small village. Unfortunately, she gets more than she bargains for because she is not able to leave a trace behind. People forget her as soon as they meet. She can’t say her name or even write it down. She can’t hold on to anything or own anything because it’s all easily forgotten. She has immortal life but she can’t make or keep any connections with anyone but her mysterious stranger, who she calls Luc. Addie is clever and stubborn and won’t let this get in her way. She finds ways to survive. People may not remember her but she finds ways to make her presence known. She inspires artists to draw and paint and write music. She lives on through various pieces of art and music for centuries. She has learned to be invisible and how to navigate the world without anyone every remembering she exists. That is until she meets Henry, who is the first person in 300 years who sees her and remembers her.

I enjoyed this book but it does take a while to get into it. The narrative goes back and forth from 2014 and the past and the transitions are not always clean. It does take a bit to figure out what is going on and how all this pieces together. However once all the characters have been introduced and we’ve seen the deal being made and how the curse plays itself out, the story picks up and you can only feel like this is not going to end well for everyone. I felt for Addie. She wants more than what is offered to her in 1714. Let’s be honest, it almost doesn’t matter when a woman lives, their options are limited. I could understand her desperation when she made her deal and her heartbreak as she then tries to navigate the world after. How even with immortal life, she has to make some truly terrible decisions to survive but she does. Partly because she is still curious about the world but also partly to spite Luc, who tries everything to break her. She learns to adapt. She learns to use Luc as inspiration but she also learns that as much as she hates him, she loves him because after all these centuries. He is the only one who knows her. So she lives on and will continue to live on and it’s kind of inspiring. The ending is really the only way a story like this could end. It’s neither happy or sad but bittersweet. Everyone gets what they want but also not what they want either. It’s an interesting premise and has so much more going on then what I’ve touched on here. It’s worth sticking with it to the end.

Our Favorite Books of 2020!

Well 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. Thank goodness it’s about to end. We’ve been pretty open with our struggles we had this year when it came to our reading lists. We didn’t read as much as we wanted and don’t have as many books to pick from. So this year we are going to do something different this year. Instead of picking our Top 5 or 10 books we are just going to list our favorite books we read this year. So here we go.

  1. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 – by Cho Nam-Joo This was such a powerful book to me. Like the main character Kim Jiyoung. I was also born in 1982 and can identify with so many of her struggles. The fact that she is Korean and I am American just goes to show how alike we are all no matter where we are from. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
  2. Deathless Divide – by Justina Ireland The sequel of Dread Nation about a Zombie apocalypse after the US Civil War. In this one we see more the aftermath of what happened and the hardships they all have to endure. Jane is the best protagonist. She’s funny, strong, and damaged but she never gives up. She’s who we all would want if a zombies ever attack and considering how 2020 went, I’m surprised they didn’t. (Beth don’t jinx it)
  3. The King of Crows – by Libba Bray The final book in The Diviner’s series was ever the sweeping epic I wanted it to be. It brought all of them together and made them all work together to defeat the King of Crows. The sad thing about this series is how so many of the problems of the 1920’s are still too relevant today. Racism, poverty war and greed all played a part in the novels and the last couple of years. I’m truly going to miss all of these characters.
  4. Midnight Sun – by Stephenie Meyer Controversial choice I know because I wasn’t very kind to it or to Edward and Bella. It has not aged well and I’ll never read it again but It was kinda fun to reminisce back to a time when I loved these books and when I was excited to go see the movies in theaters. (Remember when we could do that?) No matter what I feel about the now, I’ll always be grateful to them and Stephenie Meyer because they introduced me to a whole new genre of books that I probably wouldn’t have sought after before. So yes, It wasn’t a good book but it brought back some good memories.
  5. There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon Sweetie is an awesome main character. Her development is amazing. The romance is adorable. I totally forgot I had read that one.
  6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz This was such a beautiful novel about a friendship between two teenagers. I loved it so much. It broke my heart and lifted me up. It was just so great. Plus, Lin Manuel Miranda reads the audiobook.
  7. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro This novel was so horrifying. The quiet romance that hid the dark realities that Ishiguro created in the novel made it such an amazing piece of speculative fiction. I was so disturbed by it.
  8. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness The world building here is neat and I’m interested in where the story is going. I didn’t read a whole lot this year, but this one did get me into the sequel. So, even though there are things that definitely annoy me, I am adding it to the list. 

Quick Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

You know how often the book is so much better than the movie? Well this was exception to the rule because I have to say I like the movie better. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the movie multiple times and am fans of Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. I don’t know but the book was kind of blah. A lot of descriptions with not a lot happening. No wonder they made so many changes to the movie. They both follow sisters, Sally and Gillian Owens who both have had some bad luck in love. Sally is widowed early on in the book just like in the movie. She is also focused on being normal even though everyone else in her family are okay with being themselves. Gillian is still the wild spirit that runs away from home and ends up in an abusive relationship with Jimmy who ends up dead but that’s kinda of where the the similarities end. The book takes place primarily in Long Island then in their Aunt’s house in Massachusetts. Maybe that’s what I didn’t like it as much because the Aunt’s were not in it as much as they are in the book. Dianne Wiest and Stockard Channing are kinda the best part of the movie and without them the book is kind of lacking. The urgency that is felt with the dealing the spirit of Jimmy isn’t there. There is no build up of the romance between Sally and Gary Hallet. He doesn’t even appear until the last 50 pages of the book. As for a book about witches there really isn’t much witchcraft going on. I was a little disappointed in it but at least I can always watch the movie.